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Golden Nuggets: The 49ers ‘21 draft showed the evolution of Kyle Shanahan

Your daily San Francisco links for Wednesday, May 19, 2021

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The next player fans can dream about is the potential of Julio Jones coming to the Bay Area. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about Julio, as you’ll read below.

How Sermon prepared for NFL watching 49ers film in college

“When I was making the transition to Ohio State, I was looking at a lot of outside zone,” Sermon said. “The 49ers were definitely one of the teams that I looked at. Just going through the progressions and the reads because I knew when I got to Ohio State we were going to run a lot of that.”

“It hasn’t been too difficult just making the transition,” Sermon said. “Some of the stuff is similar to what I did at Ohio State. I feel like my acclimation will be pretty smooth and it will be good.”

‘Julio is on a different level’: 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan asked about Falcons’ Jones

“Julio Jones, for everybody, especially if you had a chance to coach him, he’s what you’re saying and more,” Shanahan said. “I mean, the dude is one-of-a-kind. He makes coaching a lot — a lot — easier. That’s why everyone feels the same about Julio. That’s why I don’t worry about saying that. That’s like common knowledge. Everyone knows Julio is on a different level. That’s why he’s a special guy.

“And I don’t know what their situation is, but I do know everyone feels that way about Julio. ... Watch him, and any person will see for themselves that he is a different dude.”

Changes Coming to 49ers Defense?

A big part of the additional blitz packages working was the ability of Jason Verrett to play man coverage when he replaced Richard Sherman in the starting lineup.

With Saleh moving on to become the head coach of the New York Jets, there are a number of questions about how new defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans might change up the 49ers defensive attack.

The selections of cornerbacks Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir in the draft may have provided the first signs of the potential changes.

Adding Thomas and Lenoir provided two backups with the ability to step in and keep the defense the same should Verrett go down with injury. Both excelled while playing primarily in man coverage during their time in college.

What the numbers tell us about reasonable expectations for NFL rookies

Only the 49ers’ Nick Bosa earned a Pro Bowl selection from the top-tier rookies. This was the lightest year in terms of Pro Bowls within this study as the Chiefs’ Mecole Hardman and the Jaguars’ Josh Allen were the only other players gaining a Pro Bowl trip.


Coming into the 2021 free agency period & NFL Draft, I really thought that Shanny had many immutable rules:

  1. He liked unathletic quarterbacks similar to Matt Schaub, Matt Ryan & Kirk Cousins.
  2. He only liked smaller, more athletic offensive linemen, who could get to their second level run blocks & didn’t place a high value on pass-blocking.
  3. He didn’t value or draft guards.
  4. He only liked blazing fast running backs
  5. He didn’t draft running backs.
  6. He rarely drafted cornerbacks, especially not prior to day 3.
  7. He always drafted a wide receiver; usually in the first or second round.
  8. He always drafted offensive or defensive line in the first round.
  9. He almost always drafted a linebacker — except in 2020, when the 49ers only had two picks, prior to day 3.
  10. He was always conservative, without the nerve to pull the trigger on a big deal

With the 88th pick, the 49ers selected Ohio State RB Trey Sermon(6’1, 215). Trey is a big, quick, punishing back, with very good hands & good pass-blocking. His 4.57 40 time is unusually slow for a Shanny back, but his quickness in the 10-yard split was 97th percentile. Rules #4 & #5 no longer alive.

With the 102nd pick, the 49ers selected Michigan CB Ambry Thomas (6’0, 191). Ambry is a shutdown corner. If you’re like me, then he flew under your radar due to sitting out the 2020 season with health concerns. He is long, with 32 1/4″ arms & fast 4.37 40. In addition to being a ballhawk, he specializes as a lockdown man-to-man coverage corner. Ambry is also an explosive kick/punt returner. Rule #6 was nullified with picks like this.